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Sony Xperia ZR Smartphone Doubles as an Underwater Camera

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Waterproofing is one specialization that compact cameras have had that smartphones (and their cameras) haven’t, but that’s about to change. Sony has launched a new phone called the Xperia ZR that will help smartphones further erode the point-and-shoot market by opening the door to underwater smartphone photography.

That’s right: the Xperia ZR is a smartphone that’s dust-resistant and completely waterproof to depths of up to 5 feet for up to 30 minutes. Rather than having to buy a separate camera or underwater housing, owners will be able to plunge right into wet environments to document their life and adventures.

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The phone has a 13-megapixel Exmor RS sensor, a 4.6-inch screen, 720p video recording, Android OS, a 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor, and 2 gigs of RAM.

There’s a dedicated camera button on the camera for using it like a compact camera, and photo/video features are accessible through the button even through the camera’s lock screen, helping you quickly get the camera ready for image taking and memory making.

Other photo-related features of the camera include HDR mode, noise reduction, and 15-frame-per-second continuous shooting (with no image limit).

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Sony says the Xperia ZR will launch sometime before the second half of 2013. No word yet on pricing, but given the fact that durable/waterproof compact cameras cost hundreds of dollars on their own, having underwater photo capabilities built into a standard smartphone will likely be quite popular with adventurous consumers who want flexibility without bulk.

(via Sony via Engadget)